Remembering Jeff Appel - Higher Education Today

Title: Communities of Practice: Developing Financial Aid Metrics in State Data Systems

Authors: Eric Godin

Source: State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO)

With increasing attention on college affordability, a new report from SHEEO highlights important trends and developments in how states collect and report on postsecondary financial aid data.

The report draws from SHEEO’s ongoing Communities of Practice Project, which convenes postsecondary data teams from state agencies across the country to identify common challenges in data collection. The project provides an opportunity for discussion among  teams on how to make data more informative and actionable to improve student outcomes.

The report provides an overview of the current state of financial aid data and its use at the state level. It discusses the challenges and opportunities posed by the ambiguity in the term ‘affordability,’ highlights examples of innovative financial aid programs, and advocates for disaggregating data by student subpopulation as a way to identify equity issues.

It concludes with case studies of Minnesota and Ohio. These studies provide insight into financial aid data considerations and use.

  • The Minnesota case study focuses on the issues states contend with when attempting to define college affordability.
  • The Ohio case study describes a partnership between the state data team and local school districts that helps schools understand which students have completed the FAFSA so they can target resources towards those who have not completed their application.

To the full report, please click here.

—Charles Sanchez


Higher Education Today